Challenge filed on city appeal fee

A Hood River resident who filed an initiative for the November ballot to limit city land use appeal fees has challenged the ballot title and language drafted by the Hood River city attorney.

Richard Derek Bell, the chief petitioner for the initiative, and attorney Brent Foster challenged the ballot measure caption, question and summary language drafted by City Attorney Dan Kearns, contending it shows bias against the ballot measure.

The measure would cap citizen appeal feels at $500 or 1 percent of their demonstrated annual income and $500 for registered nonprofit corporations.

The caption drafted by Kearns reads: “Amendment to the city charter regarding land use appeal fees.”

Foster argued the caption should reference the fact that measure is to limit appeal fees.

However, he took even bigger issue with the question posed by the measure.

The question drafted by Kearns reads: Shall the city revise its charter to subsidize with public funds land use appeal fees for certain groups and individuals?”

Foster contends that since the word “subsidy” is not found in the text of the measure submitted by Bell, Michelle Hollister and Linda Maddox, the language in the city attorney ballot title is biased.

“Nowhere in the measure does the word subsidy get used; it’s just putting a cap on what the fees would be,” Foster said.

Kearns denied the language was biased and said his ballot title was merely stating what the measure was and what it would do.

“The ballot title I prepared was an accurate representation of it, warts and all, and we’ll see what the judge decides,” Kearns said.

The challenge was filed in Hood River County Circuit Court and will likely be heard at some point in the next few weeks as the petitioners attempt to get the measure on the November.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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